In Sweden the debate regarding the new information sign at Ale stenar, a stone ship monument in southern Sweden (Scania) published by RAA (The National Heritage Board) continues. Martin Rundkvist at Aardvarchaeology gives a good overview regarding the critique in his two posts (here and here). Martin has promised to publish pictures of the sign on his blog as soon as possible. The discussion is also running at Arkeologiforum, though mainly in swedish. But there are one intresting post in english regarding the finds that were made by the Technical unit (UV Teknik) of the Archaeological Excavation Department (UV) of the Swedish National Heritage Board (RAA) conducted in autumn 2006 georadar and magnetometer measurements in and around Ales Stenar.
I do agree with Martin that the signs should display “the best available science, making clear what the consensus among professional researchers is“. But I am sorry to say, many information signs do not hold up to that standard. The signs are often the first and perhaps the only information channel to a lot of people regarding our ancient monuments therefore it is very important that thay are as correct as possible. It is also important that they besides beeing correct are easy to understand and regards the actual monument. On many signs that I’ve seen the information is only general, for example: mounds are graves normally dated to the early Iron Age, evan worse on other the iformation is wrong or outdated. The signs made in later years are most often made by the county administrative boards, in general I would say that they are better than the ones RAÄ made in the 80’s and 90’s but still there are a lot of missinformation on the signs mostly due to old references or negligence.
I would like to emphasize that in this case RAÄ is the editor responsible for the publication of this sign. When a government authority makes statements like the ones on this sign, that is an offical document, it is of the up most importance that the data and information is correct. As I still havn’t seen this sign I won’t demand it uprooted or rewritten, a least not yet.
The discussion will continue but this all for now.